Seeding Nostalgia: HKUST Alumni Reunion Tree Planting Activity

In a display of reunion and environmental stewardship, the Sustainability/Net-Zero Office organized a tree planting event along with HKUST Alumni on 13 January. With 20 alumni participating with their families,  the event marked a special day in promoting sustainability and conservation efforts within and outside the university community.

The activity was carefully crafted with the intention of sowing the seeds of biodiversity conservation. As we nurture a thriving campus ecosystem, we also cultivate a profound sense of belonging for our alumni, forever rooted in the physical presence of their alma mater. The objective was to plant 5 native plant species in the Chinese garden near senior staff quarters, which will forever serve as a proof to HKUST’s strong alumni network.

Cyclobalanopsis hui is one such rare native oak species that was planted, along with Endospermum chinense which is a fast-growing native tree that grows well in harsh, exposed environments. The former only having 20 known matured trees in Pat Sin Leng, while the latter having fewer than one thousand individuals persisting in the entirety of Hong Kong. Both of the plant species were victims of wildfires in Hong Kong, leading to the gradual decline in their populations. Elaeocarpus nitentifolius, Morella rubra, and Syzygium odoratum, are the three other native species that were also planted. By transplanting these native saplings, the participants contributed to preserving Hong Kong's unique biodiversity.                                                                   

Planting native species helps preserves biodiversity. As native plants are adapted to local environmental conditions, they require far less water, saving time, money, and perhaps the most valuable natural resource, water.           

The event started with landscaping contractor demonstrating tool safety then the steps and skills of planting seedlings, and a shared passion for the environment connected the participants.     

Reflecting on the event’s significance, MSc(IT) 2011 graduate Ethan Wang Yachao shared “Participating in the tree planting activity with my son was profoundly rewarding. It brought us immense joy to contribute to the environment and create a positive impact. Getting our hands dirty while planting trees deepened our bond and taught us the transformative power of nature. We laughed, learned, and connected on a deeper level. This experience instilled in my son a sense of responsibility and reverence for the natural world. It's a cherished memory, inspiring us to continue making a positive difference for the world we inhabit and for the generations yet to come.”

Organizer from Sustainability/Net-Zero Office, Louis Law appreciated the collaborative effort and emphasized the joy of connecting with nature. “It has been an incredibly fulfilling experience for me to lead a group of passionate participants in planting seedlings within our picturesque Chinese pond garden. Especially witnessing the enthusiasm of the little kids, eager to immerse their hands in the soil, serves as a powerful reminder that our endeavours on campus are dedicated to shaping a brighter future for the generations to come.”

In the HKUST 2028 Sustainability Challenge, landscape and biodiversity goal is one of the focus areas. We aimed to utilize the campus landscape as an active resource for research, sustainability experimentation, and community engagement. This tree planting activity provided a valuable opportunity for our alumni and their families to plant seedling of trees on our campus. Not only beautifying and transforming the area with higher ecological value, the activity signified how individuals contributed in creating a more sustainable and thriving environment for all members to enjoy. If you are looking for similar activities, follow our social media platforms at HKUST Sustainability !

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